Volume 42 Issue 9
Sep.  2023
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Simin Hu, Tao Li, Hui Huang, Sheng Liu. Molecular quantification of copepod Acartia erythraea feeding on different algae preys[J]. Acta Oceanologica Sinica, 2023, 42(9): 125-131. doi: 10.1007/s13131-022-2115-0
Citation: Simin Hu, Tao Li, Hui Huang, Sheng Liu. Molecular quantification of copepod Acartia erythraea feeding on different algae preys[J]. Acta Oceanologica Sinica, 2023, 42(9): 125-131. doi: 10.1007/s13131-022-2115-0

Molecular quantification of copepod Acartia erythraea feeding on different algae preys

doi: 10.1007/s13131-022-2115-0
Funds:  The National Natural Science Foundation of China under contract Nos 41806188 and 42176118; the Science and Technology Planning Project of Guangdong Province, China under contract No. 2020B1212060058; the Key Special Project for Introduced Talents Team of Southern Marine Science and Engineering Guangdong Laboratory (Guangzhou) under contract No. GML2019ZD0404.
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  • Quantitative evaluation of the copepod feeding process is critical for understanding the functioning of marine food webs, as this provides a major link between primary producers and higher trophic levels. In this study, a molecular protocol based on quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) targeting 18S rDNA was developed and used to investigate the feeding and digestion rates of the copepod Acartia erythraea in a laboratory experiment using microalgae Thalassiosira weissflogii, Prorocentrum shikokuense, and Alexandrium catenella as prey. Although offered an equal encounter rate based on biovolume, prey uptake varied substantially among the three algal species, with the ingestion rate (IR) and digestion rate (DR) of A. erythraea differing significantly (P< 0.001) based on both cell counting and qPCR detection.Acartia erythraea showed the highest IR (2.79 × 104 cells/(ind.·h)) and DR (2.43 × 104 cells/(ind.·h)) on T. weissflogii, and the lowest amounts of ingested P. shikokuense were detected. The highest assimilation rate (~90.64%, IR/DR) was observed in copepods fed with P. shikokuense. The qPCR method used here can help determine the digestion rate and assimilation rate of copepods by detecting cells remaining in the gut hence providing the possibility to examine trophic links involving key species in the marine ecosystem. Our results indicate that A. erythraea has diet-specific feeding performance in different processes, and a quantitative assessment of copepod feeding is needed to accurately determine its functional role in the energy and matter uptake from marine food webs.
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